This week is National Curry Week and despite the announcement last month that roast dinners had stolen the top spot in the Britain’s favourite dish survey from chicken tikka masala, it’s rain as number 1 dish for over a decade speaks volume as to the love us Brit’s have for a curry.
Our taste for a curry has most definitely changed over the years though and it appears we can take it a little hotter these days with the jalfrezi voted at Britain’s number 1 curry. The popularity no doubt comes from the freshness of a jalfrezi which uses onions, peppers and tomatoes with plenty of fresh green chillies and the classic Indian spices of ground coriander, cumin and turmeric. The sauce and the spices lend themselves very well not just chicken but also fish, seafood and vegetables.
With meat dishes featuring so highly on Indian restaurant menus in the United Kingdom, it’s easy to forget this is done for our taste as 40% of India is vegetarian. For none meat or fish eaters, the Indian cuisine is far and away the best way to eat for flavour as well as for health benefits with so many of the dishes being packed full of fresh vegetables and high protein lentils and pulses. Even for meat and fish eaters, meat free days aren’t a bad idea every once in a while. Take for example a hearty chickpea and squash curry, seasonal in autumn and put it in front of a meat eater and it’s highly unlikely there will be any protest, in fact, the lack of meat probably won’t even be noted.
So combine the popularity of curry in Britain with the lack of flavourful vegetarian offerings especially in pubs, surely a tasty homemade vegetable curry is a great dish to grace any pub menu? These two factors have been picked up on by Wainwright’s Inn on the Langdale Estate where a vegetable curry o f the day can be ordered. The curry changes daily, hence the name of course, and comes with braised rice, mango chutney and a poppadom.
But back to National Curry Week and what better time as the night’s draw in and the temperatures drop to keep warm and feel invigorated with the tastes and smells of Indian cuisine. And it is so easy to add a bit of spice to this week such as a lunchtime soup, add some garam masala to a stew one night, create a full Indian banquet over the weekend or let someone else do the cooking and stop in at Wainwright’s Inn after a walk and be revived by their vegetable curry of the day.